One Step at a Time

It’s been a little over a year since I updated this blog, mostly because I have been afraid to put into words what has been happening in our lives. This year has met us with great advancements, many failures, and even more tears, but we made it. Our house now looks like some kind of therapy room. We have a swing in the front room, a trampoline in the corner, sensory boxes on bookshelves, and more Legos than I can count.

But I miss our old house, our old neighborhood, and old friends. I miss our old church and Pastor. I miss being away from family and being someone who can get lost in the crowd. But this move has been good for our family, especially Jo, so I press on.

We have made new friends, have a new (really really old) house, and a massive backyard (just shy of an acre) to play. Jo’s school year was amazing. His teacher is the most kind, gentle, patient woman I think I have ever met. Even on the crazy days she met me with a smile. Jo’s team was built of the Special Education Director, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and his teacher. His initial IEP meeting was overwhelming and confusing, but I heard everything I needed to, so I walked away praying that these people knew what they were doing.

They did.

Jo is talking fluidly now. We can understand 98% of everything he says. He still has some pronunciation issues and uses the incorrect words at times, but I can live with that. OT worked with him on sensory activities, handwriting, and basic self care. He learned how to zip a coat! Speech worked with his teacher to help him socially, and we have seen great improvements.

Jo did so wonderfully during the school year that his team wanted to try him out in the Pre-K class, pulling him completely out of Special Education. I jumped at the opportunity. I felt like it would help him so much if he could just see what the other kids were doing during the school day. The idea was great. The reality was shattering.

Jo went from happy and adjusted to frantic and fearful. The kids were too noisy and too chaotic for him. His teacher even reported that the happy child who used to play on the playground was now squatting in the corner of the playground as far away from everyone as possible.

After a few more tries and some really awesome sensory inputs, he started to do better. So much better that at his final IEP meeting for the year his team recommended that he be placed full time in the Pre-K class instead of Special Ed next year.

And then summer break happened…and our world fell apart once again.

More meltdowns. More screaming. Loss of vocal regulation. More rigid. Refuses to leave the house. Not wanting to eat. Refusing to change clothes.High anxiety all the time. Isn’t summer over yet?

So here we are, July 9th, six days before he turns 4, slightly better…but mostly just different.